Welcome to Practice Rounds, our weekly column exploring what's being covered in the larger world of healthcare.
Senate Proposes Bipartisan Bill to Aid Insurance Markets
On Thursday, 24 Senators reached agreement on short-term bipartisan legislation that would help stabilize health insurance markets. The proposed legislation was headed by Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and aims to reinstate some of the cost-sharing reduction payments and address other issues plaguing insurance markets, according to Health Data Management.
Alexander and Murray released a statement: "The goal of this bipartisan legislation is to stabilize and then lower the cost of health insurance premiums and ensure that Americans are able to purchase health insurance in the individual health insurance market."
Shortly following the bills release, the American Medical Association (AMA) voiced its support of the proposed legislation in a press release. "The American Medical Association supports the compromise proposal developed by Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray to restore the cost-sharing reduction payments needed to stabilize the individual and non-group health insurance markets through 2019."
It’s unclear if the bipartisan bill will be find support in the White House or the House.
Study: EHRs Factoring into More Malpractice Claims
As adoption of EHRs has grown in practices and hospitals alike, the number of medical malpractice claims in which they have a role continues to grow, according to a new study by The Doctors Company.
The study took place from July 2014 through December 2016, finding 66 EHR-related malpractice claims, representing a continuous increase in claims over the past ten years. In contrast, the same study was done over a seven-year period from 2007 through 2014 where 97 EHR-related claims were found.
According to the study, 50 percent of the claims were caused by system factors (i.e. failed alerts), while 58 percent of claims were caused by user error (i.e. copying and pasting). Furthermore, the study found an increase in EHR-related malpractice claims in patient rooms and a decrease in claims from hospital clinics, doctors' offices, ambulatory/day surgery centers, labor and delivery, and ERs.
Fighting Opioid Addiction Possible in Primary Care
A new University of Michigan study found that primary-care physicians and their non-physician staff can provide effective addiction care using medication-assisted counseling (MAT). MAT combines the drug buprenorphine with counseling. The federal government requires that physicians take an eight-hour course before they can prescribe buprenorphine, and the number of physicians taking these courses has been increasing with the opioid addiction in the U.S, according to the researchers.
Successful opioid addiction treatment often used coordinated care, with physicians handling the patient encounters where their skills were required, and other team members helped patients between doctor appointments. Interestingly, many of the successful MAT treatments were done by clinics that did not have an addiction psychologist or any kind of addiction counselor.
Quote of the week:
"Once you've identified the symptoms, you need to locate the causes. Chances are it's not just the EHR. People are always saying 'there's too much government regulation, too much paperwork,' but it's so much more than that."
Elizabeth Woodcock, practice consultant, on identifying burnout causes.